Robotics, Screener fortify sequencing

While data volume is an issue for any company in the drug discovery business, it's frequently true that the bigger the organization, the bigger the data issue. And that is nowhere more true than at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, currently at work on the Molecular Libraries and Imaging Initiative funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Under the initiative, Broad researchers are performing high-throughput biological studies of diverse small molecules, generating volumes of next-generation sequencing data.

It's a continual challenge, says Dave DeCaprio, associate director for the chemical biology platform. "The amount of sequence data grows four- to eight-fold every 18 months--much faster than storage is increasing," he says. "You have to figure out what's most important and find a way to keep 99 percent of the information with 10 percent of the storage."

The Broad uses an Oracle database infrastructure for high-throughput screening and sequencing. It is now building up its infrastructure to keep pace with experiments being driven by its laboratory information management system. The experiments are executed via five newly installed automated robotics systems; data are captured and pushed into software for automated high-throughput and high-content screening of small molecules.

The solution is Screener from Genedata, and the company announced its placement with the Broad last week.

"We're screening upwards of 50 assays and analyzing more than 20 million wells of screening data," says DeCaprio. His team is using Screener's Assay Analyzer and Condoseo modules. Assay Analyzer captures data from plate readers and processes them based on predefined business rules. Condoseo fits thousands of dose-response curves within minutes for IC50 determination in validation and assay panel screens. According to DeCaprio, screening campaigns that once took several weeks to execute can now be done in days.

- here's the announcement

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